Surrounded by wild gardens and native bush, the Three Trees Learning Centre in Rolleston, Christchurch utilises sustainable design to provide children with an environment that fosters learning and growth through a natural discovery approach. A core part of the client’s pedagogy is that the building acts as the child’s third teacher, or an environmental steward. The centre has been designed to reflect this pedagogy, creating a seamless transition between the child’s built environment and the outdoors.
Licensed for 130 children and with a total built area of 634 sqm, the centre incorporates natural materials, unique shapes and interactive play apparatus to intrigue, motivate and excite young minds. Situated next to a reserve, the canopy of mature trees that surround the building are translated architecturally through the sculptural modulation of the roof canopy. The varied geometry, all clad in cedar, reflects the dappled light from the trees, creating a soft and warm transitional space between classrooms and the outdoors.
The purpose-built centre features six spacious classrooms arranged into pairs to create three main learning hubs, reflecting the Three Trees pedagogy. The three hubs share services and art spaces, encouraging interaction between groups of children. The leafy landscape forms a vibrant backdrop against the interior colour palette of soft blues, white and natural materials – a relaxing colour scheme perfect for rest and quiet times. Classrooms feature custom-made furniture so that each space is unique and carefully considered for the children who will be using it.